A young woman in Chapel Hill, N.C., wakes up sweating. Her air conditioner has died. She knows she wants a new one, but she wants one that will be energy-efficient, easy to install on her own, reliable and not too expensive.
She hops online and types, “I need a new A/C today; I have $250 to spend — help!” into Twitter, which in turn feeds automatically into her Facebook status. She immediately begins to receive replies in both channels from friends with advice on retail outlets, air-conditioner brands and how to stay cool with no A/C. She also sees an @ reply on Twitter from a national big-box retailer letting her know its Chapel Hill location has new air conditioners in stock, as well as a link to the section of its website that shows air conditioners for under $250.
This is the new face of the “search” experience online.
Ah, the Lazy-Web. Here’s the issue with this:
While I suspect emails from Facebook to be “high-quality”, there may only be a few relevant comments at most since we each only have so many “bi-directional” friends who are interested (or aware) that we are seeking help.
Twitter responses will be far more numerous, especially as more companies bring themselves online, however that greatly increases the level of noise and spam.
I predict we have a great amount of oscillation ahead of us as people dabble with the Lazy-Web and services tune their offerings. As spam response go up, so will our return to dependence on PageRank. However, Twitter (or someone else?) can (and should?) codify something akin to “SocialRank” as a discrete measurement to help us sort the social responses.